For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:26
Monday afternoon, as I was waiting to board a flight in Ohio, several young men sat together in the row behind me. They were military, on their way to some training event. They were talking loudly about a whole range of subjects: sports, women, war, women, training, women, their commanding officer, and women.
There were no catcalls, no encroachments, and no personal comments, but the choice of words and the objectification of women became increasingly inappropriate. It was especially inappropriate in a public space.
So I turned around, caught their attention, and said – in a quiet voice, “Hey guys! Would you please watch your language? This is a public place.”
I was polite about it. No snarling, no threats, no aspersions, no public shaming; just a heads up from someone older and possibly wiser. They were polite in their response, too. “Sorry, man, I wasn’t thinking.” “Ooops, sorry!” “My bad…” Then they continued talking, but without the sexually explicit language.
Men and “Me Too” –
After a few days of reading all those status updates, I’m finally writing something about the “Me Too” campaign that’s gained so much traction on social media.
What I’d like to do is to shine the spotlight on us as men. It’s not nearly enough for us to simply read about all these women who have been harassed and molested, and nod our silent support. Nowhere near enough. What’s needed is a grassroots movement of strong men demonstrating – unequivocally – that any harassment (innuendo, creepiness, objectification, suggestive comments, disrespect, explicit language) is unacceptable. This behavior is unacceptable for ourselves, and it’s unacceptable anywhere we have the awareness and the guts to say so.
My point here is the “Broken window” theory of preventative initiative. Just like my classroom when I was teaching, where I would come down hard on entry-level curse words because we have to draw the line somewhere – so why wait for the extreme?
Porn and its Consequences –
And here’s another point while I’m at it. I’ll bet there’s a huge connection between pornography and harassment. If objectification is your go-to viewing preference, then it’s easy to see how that level of disrespect translates to everyday interactions; maybe on an unconscious level, but it’s certainly not unconscious to those being objectified.
Here’s the bottom line, guys. We need to stamp out small fires everywhere they appear. The truth is, there really is no such thing as a small fire if it’s not immediately put out.
Just say no to anything that fails to respect every other woman/lady/girl/person in the entire world, as if they were your own daughter. Fact is, we are all God’s children, and the women who are being objectified are our own family.
I’m calling myself out on this; let’s have the courage to call each other out too.
– Respectfully, and in love – DEREK